First is worst, second is worsened

It was our second week at Famous Johnny's. There were only 13 people in attendance, but the show was fantastic. Tim hosted, which really helped keep the show going at a quick pace. Nathan, Joe, Scott, Caroline, and I were definitely feeding off of each other, and again, not one person stood out as the best. It was a true team effort. We just need more people to come out on a Wednesday night. The owner had the two comedians that are there this weekend come out and do some stand-up before we went on. I think it really helped get the crowd giggling a little bit. A great idea to warm them up. Week 3 will have to have some marketing to get some more butts in the seats.


Tuesday Rehearsal

Great rehearsal last night. This is our second week where we have had rehearsal on Tuesday followed by a show on Wednesday at Famous Johnny's. We have shortened our rehearsals to 2 hours now instead of 3, and I have to say that it is a blessing. In a way we are perfecting and rehearsing our short form games at Famous Johnny's. We get to perform them every week and find out what works and what doesn't in front of a live audience. We also had auditions last Saturday that I couldn't attend, but I heard that the 3 who auditioned have promise. I will let you know as soon as anyone is accepted or not.

In other news, native KC man Ryan Dolan and his improv team Revolver are up for a Del Close award at the IO in Chicago. Specifically The Del Close award for best Harold team at IO. The Kansas City improv community was graced with their presence last fall. They put on a great show and taught some great workshops. From what I saw, they are a heck of an improv team. I will definitely keep my fingers crossed for them.


High School recap

Sunday Tim, John, Nathan, and I taught some basic improv to 30-35 high school kids. (and a few of the supervising adults)

At first it was much like corralling cattle, but once we got them with us it was fun till the end. Let's set something straight though. They were not high school kids that wanted to learn improv. They were high school kids whose supervisors thought they would enjoy improv, as a way to break the ice for new kids in the group. During the whole hour and a half, a few of the kids just sat and watched, and didn't want to participate. Then you had the few who participated, but not whole-heartedly, then you had the kids that participated 150%. I miss having constant energy, of course, the mountain dew and skittles probably helped them a little.

Overall, I thought it was a lot of fun. John, Tim, Nathan, and I did a very good job of planning what we wanted to do, and we had a great set of back-up things we wanted to do, depending on their experience and what not. If anything, we introduced some of them to improv, and we showed others how to get better at it. We also introduced ourselves as a group, and told some of them about the festival later this year.

For my first improv teaching experience, I am very glad I had Nathan there as my sidekick, and I am very satisfied with the effort of my small group. I have to admit, they even impressed me a bit when we played some scene games. Yay improv!


Improv weekend

I have heard nothing but great things about Hype 7's shows on Friday and Saturday, as well as The Trip Fives rendition of "The Bat." Congrats to both of those groups for great shows. A little birdie told me that Hype 7 tried their first long form...ever, and they have been around well over 10 years now...that is amazing. Congratulations.

The 5pm and 7:30pm shows were sold out at Comedy City. A welcome change to the horrible 2007 that I experienced with Comedy City. The Black Box Theater was filled to the brim, and so was the energy. It was my first time playing with veteran Josh Steinmetz, and I loved every minute of it. He attacks short form like everyone should. If you want to learn how to perform short form better, come and watch him.

Tomorrow I will recap how our high school workshop went. (I miss having constant energy; I don't miss trying to be cool)

Until then, enjoy Tommy trying to grow a mustache:


Famous Johnny's show recap

From now on, Improv-Abilities will be performing improv every Wednesday night at Famous Johnny's. Last night, was our first. To the best of my knowledge there were 2 people in the audience who had seen improv before, and they were affiliated with Improv-Abilities. It took a few games for the audience to get involved. (giving suggestions...laughing out loud) They were very quiet to start. You could tell that they didn't know what was really going on. After about 1/3 of the show, they really started to get into it. The energy level went up in the entire room, and the show definitely got better as the night went on. Afterwards there were many people who told us that they would come back next week, which was great to hear. All in all, there were about 30 people in the audience. Not bad for our first time.

I think we definitely learned a lot from last night's show. Let's be honest, it is a typical stand up crowd, they want to sit, drink, and laugh. We need to come out with higher energy and really get the crowd into it. Maybe we need a permanent host? We'll see. It is definitely a positive joint venture for us and the club though, so let's see how this thing goes for the next couple of months.


Blog recap

Back when I first started this here blog. I was struggling to figure out how to do as much improv as I could. That was a mistake. I have learned since then that just because you are playing a lot doesnt mean you are getting better. I had to make some tough choices between some great groups and some great people. However, I am here today in order to stand by my decisions. Quitting CounterClockwiseComedy was probably the easiest decision. I found myself not having fun while I was rehearsing and playing with this group. That to me, was a bad sign, and I am definitely happy I quit while I did. The decision between Improv-Abilities, Roving Imp, and Comedy City was much more difficult. I helped start IA, so I couldn't quit that, and more importantly, I have seen a great deal of improvement with IA in the past 2 years. Comedy City may have its negatives, but I am still meeting great people (and introducing them to City 3!) and learning a lot about comedy while on that stage. I never wanted to quit Roving Imp, but the timing just isn't right. I had to quit Roving Imp, or I wouldn't be married anymore.

So the point of this is to reassure myself that I have made some good decisions when it has come to improv groups that I have had to quit. I think I have made the best decisions. Between IA and Comedy City, starting this Wednesday, I will be doing at least 2 improv shows a week. On top of all that, Tommy and I are continuing our video adventures as another outlet, and there is another season of Improv Thunderdome planned in May. People say don't spread yourself to thin, and I have learned that is true first hand. It is better that I chose the two groups I did, in order to better myself as an improvisor. Heck, let's do this again in a few months and see how I feel then okay.


Wait...Improv-Abilities is 8 years old now???

The show saturday was great. There were only 30 people in the crowd, but they were a very energetic crowd. They came ready to laugh, and we delivered. The short form blended well with the Sketch, and we didn't lose any energy when we switched to long form. We were focused and worked as a team. It wasn't perfection, but it was pretty close to a perfect show. The best part about the show is that I can't name one individual that did better than anyone else. It truly was a team effort for this show. Everyone had their game face on for sure saturday night.

Not to take anything away from the show, but the coolest thing that happened, happened after the show. My best friend recently told his band mates that he would be quitting. Saturday night was his farewell performance with the band. It was a great crowd, most of his friends and family were in attendance, and it was great to see them all. One lady in particular started asking me about how she could get involved with improv here in Kansas City.

Let me rewind the story here. 8 years ago (To this month) Improv-Abilities started, at the time there was Comedy City to take classes and not much else. I had many friends, 8 years ago, ask me how to get started. I would either say Comedy City, or wait for our auditions.

However, on Saturday night, I handed this lady a card that had at least 8 different groups named on them. I still told her about Comedy City, but I told her about City 3 and all of the different events she should try to come to in order to network. It was a proud moment for me to be able to tell her all of the stuff that was going on. Congrats Kansas City!

Oh yah, and Tommy said that Comedy City had sold out shows on Saturday night. Hooray Improv!


Final rehearsal before the big show

Let me start by saying that our short-form games are going to be great, in rehearsal we nailed them all. We know how to host them, play them, and make sure the audience loves them. However, this was the first time in 3 weeks that we have stumbled with our long-form. It wasn't bad, it was entertaining, but we slipped up on some simple rules. Name each other, don't add more scenes than you need...blah, blah, blah. Nothing to get to nervous about, but who am I kidding, I am nervous. We want to put on good improv shows and help our audience love what they see, so that they come back for more.

Well, I guess there is another way to look at it, at least we worked out the kinks in rehearsal and not in the show. Kind of like when your favorite sports team is on a roll, then they lose that one game right before the playoffs. Everyone then says: "At least they got it out of the way."

Here is info on the show if you are interested. It will definitely not sell out, but there will be a good crowd.

Saturday February 16th
7:30pm Tickets are $10 or $6 for students
Lucky Brewgrille
5401 Johnson Dr., Mission, KS 66205
For Reservations, Call (913) 871-6242
Doors open at 7pm

This show's theme is Love Smack. We will be starting out with some improvised dance inspired by the audience, then we will play fast paced short form games revolving around the theme love, somewhere in the middle there will be a sketch, and then we will do 30 minutes of long form that the audience will title followed by some freeze games.

Hope to see you there.


Great improv weekend

Friday was round 2 of improv thunderdome and it was a great show. All of the teams put on great performances. However, Scriptease won. There are now 2 teams in the final and only one spot left. The next round is in mid-March and it will sell out just like the others. I have learned a lot from participating in the first round, and watching this last round. Experimental improv may get you respect from other improvisers, but funny improv gets the audience to vote for you. Also, rehearsals are very important. If you don't put much into it, then you won't get much out of it. Kudos to the teams who won so far, it has been an exciting new event here in Kansas City.

Saturday was Comedy City night for me. First the 5:00pm show had about 40-50 in attendance and it featured a great group of improvisers. Clay Morgan, Rob Grabowski, Michael Montague, Nick Rigoli, and myself. (sounds conceded...don't care) We put on a great show and the audience definitely got their money's worth. Then it was time to drive down to Paola to do a remote. Again, great cast, great show, great audience. I am beginning to love private gigs more than public ones.

IA has rehearsal on Tuesday. John, Tim, and I will be meeting early to discuss how we will be teaching 50 high school kids the basics of improv. Most likely we will just have them play some warm up games and simple improv excercises. I am sure we will get to some fun improv games towards the end to leave them begging for more.

This weekend is the first public IA show since last November. We have been rehearsing our butts off for it. It should be a much better show than we have put on in the past, we have finally put more effort into rehearsals, and I think it is going to show. For one, we have had one person watch the show and not play in it, and secondly, our group is really starting to work very well together.


Friday, Friday, Friday!!!

This is why improv in Kansas City is not as bad as it may seem. Thunderdome is this weekend. Why is that important? One example: Antiprov, the members include-Scott Connerly, Jessica Robins, and Joe Stephenson. These 3 people started in 3 different groups and if it wasn't for thunderdome, they probably would have never come together as a new team. It is just a cool concept to me. There are a number of teams that have spawned because of this, and I am very excited for the show this Friday. Signs point to another sold out show, so if you want to make reservations, make sure too soon. Here is the info:

Friday, February 8th

BABEL FISH - Joe Henley, John Robison & Nathan Stewart.
They know what audiences like and pander to them. When preparing for Thunderdome, they asked themselves, "What are the youth into today?" So, of course the first things that sprang to mind were Long-form improvisation, and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Becket; the rest is lowbrow, mass-consumption, entertainment history!
ANTIPROV - Scott Connerly, Jessica Robins & Joe Stephenson.
You think you know the rules of improv? We spit-take on your order, authority, and rules. Antiprov will deliver short-form improv like you've never seen before.
SCRIPTEASE - Rene Boudreaux, Drew Davidson & Clayton Ingram.
Fast-paced scenes. Quick-change characters. Rene, Drew and Clay started improvising early—and they've studied with the best from Chicago and beyond. The men of Scriptease have got the funny...and they know how to use it.

Tickets are only $8.00
(house opens 30 minutes prior to show time)

For reservations call 816-678-8886
or contact improvthunderdome@gmail.com

Website: www.myspace.com/kcimprovthunderdome

If this show is anything like the first one (Nostradamus prophesized that it would be so) it will be hilarious. Don't miss it!

In other news, here is the latest TommyandKeith video. We were inspired to make a music video using audio from video clips. Hope you like it (Yes we suffered some pain, but it was worth it)


Poehler/Lutz/McBrayer Interview

Found this cool little interview from Amy Poehler, John Lutz, and Jack McBrayer. They talk about Del Close mostly, and what he taught them. Pretty neat stuff, enjoy.



Catching up on the past few days

Sadly, The OTS show was cancelled Saturday night, but I had a great time watching Scriptease (aka Fakers, aka good Exit 16 alums) do some good short form. We also got to see their piece for Thunderdome on Friday. It will play very well to the crowd. Man, it's going to be a good show! After the Scriptease show most of the improvisers went out and had a great time talking about the upcoming festival and the improv community in general. You see, we used to have these events called Improv get togethers. We were on version 4.0 I believe. It is time to kick those up again real soon. Never have I been and not had a good time, or got to meet someone new from the improv community. In fact here is a picture from one of the first get togethers: (Trish took it)

The Festival meeting went very well. It is almost as if we are ahead of schedule at this point. We learned a lot from last year, so I think most of the work is done for us already because of it. There will be much more news in the next coming months about the festival so stay tuned!

I swear there will be another Tommy and Keith video soon. I am finishing up one so it could be up by tomorrow.

Also, on Trish's blog, she mentioned that Tim Mason has made it onto the Second City ETC Stage. Why is this important? Oh I don't know, he started in Trish's old High School League, and played with her Lighten Up Improv Comedy Theater group. Just another great guy from Kansas City making a name for himself up in Chicago.


Improv in Kansas City isn't that bad. Sure, we don't have the same opportunities as LA, NY, or Chicago, but I am still having a blast playing with some talented people every weekend. Heck, if it wasn't for IA and CC, I wouldn't have been able to go to Nebraska to film some fun commercials. (still not finished yet, but should be out by mid-feb they say now)

This weekend is very exciting. The Kansas City Improv Festival is scheduled for September, and it is time for the team to get back together and start the planning all over again. We learned a lot from last year, so this one should be even more rewarding than last year. (If that is possible) I will definitely keep you posted on all the happenings at the meetings.

Saturday night is On The Spot up in Liberty, MO. Another great way to get different improvisers together to play. See four of KC’s best improvisers square off in fast-paced, family-friendly, super-funny games, scenes and songs. Tickets are $5 at the Corbin Theatre, 15 N. Water in Liberty. Call 816-678-8886 for reservations. This month's cast:

Your Host: Sean Hogge
Your Announcer: Tommy Todd
Pete Calderone (Tantrum)
Keith Curtis (Improv-Abilities, Comedy City)
Joe Henley (Improv-Abilities, Babelfish)
Ryan Seymour (Full Frontal Comedy)

Beyond that it looks like IA will definitely be starting at Famous Johnny's on Wednesday nights in mid to late February, and we have even scored one of our first workshops for highschool kids.

Tim Marks (IA Director) John Robison (Roving Imp Owner) and myself (lucky guy) get to teach and play improv with 50 kids for an hour and a half. How crazy is that!